The opposition Democratic Party for the People plans to propose that the start of the new school year be delayed to September, rather than April, this year amid school closures due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A DPP working team held its first meeting Monday, during which many members were in favor of September school enrollment to address education disparities due to school closures.

The party will make the proposal to the government as early as this week after discussions with some other opposition parties, sources familiar with the matter said.

The proposal is expected to include an option to delay school enrollment ceremonies to September next year to prepare for the possibility that the virus will not be contained by September this year, the sources said.

Issues that need to be considered include how to balance September school enrollment with fiscal 2020, which began April 1, and national examination schedules.

Education minister Koichi Hagiuda told a news conference Friday that the ministry is aware that such a proposal is being discussed in various quarters. “We’ll look at all possible scenarios,” he said.